U.S. Congressman Diane Black (R-TN) was a featured speaker at the 40th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) held March 14-16th in National Harbor, Maryland. Black joined leading conservative voices in speaking at the event, including Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rand Paul, Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Michele Bachmann. In addition to speaking at CPAC, Black was recognized by the event's sponsoring organization, The American Conservative Union, earlier this year with the "Defender of Liberty" Award for her 100% conservative voting record. Below are excerpts of Rep. Black's remarks:
We are at a crossroads in our nation's history.
The majority of Americans believe the future will not be better for their children and grandchildren. There is a growing sense that maybe this century will belong to someone else. This grim outlook about the future speaks volumes about our present circumstances, the direction of our nation, and the current leadership in Washington.
If I was born today, I do not know if I would be able to achieve my American Dream. I do not know if I would be able to be the first person in my family to graduate from college or save lives as an emergency room nurse or grow a business with my husband from four people around a kitchen table to providing more than 700 employees with a good job or serve as a member of Congress.
As I talk with young people, small businesses owners, and Americans striving to be in the middle class about the struggles they are facing in this Obama era of big government, less freedom and fewer opportunities, I am more and more convinced that the president's policies would have put my American Dream -- likes so many others - out of reach. Because the president's policies are an assault on the American Dream.
The emerging Obama Debt Crisis is a regressive tax that hurts low and middle income Americans worst of all. Now the president incessantly talks about the importance of investing in the future, in order words, spending more money we do not have to expand government at the expense of private sector growth and job creation, as if this is going to help low and middle income Americans.
I realize that the president has never run a business and it has probably been a while since he took an economics class, but this is simple math. Spending money we do not have is not an investment. It is generational theft that is devastating the American Dream.
Under President Obama, nearly 23 million Americans are still struggling to find work and the number of food stamp recipients has increased by nearly 17 million during his time in office.
We should measure government's success by the number of Americans who are able to get back to work in the private sector.
The president simply fails to recognize that the best investment we can make for our children and grandchildren is for government to stop spending money we do not have. The further our nation gets from limited government, freedom, individual responsibility, and a vibrant free enterprise system, the less attainable the American Dream becomes for more and more Americans.
Limited government, freedom, opportunity, economic mobility, and the power of individuals over government to create, produce, and innovate: these are the principles that unite us as conservatives, and these are principles that make the American Dream possible.
To ensure that we save and strengthen the American Dream for current and future generations, we must change course while there is still time. And I believe we can, and we will do what needs to be done to restore the principles that made this country the most exceptional nation on earth.